Shinzo Abe: Man sets himself on fire in protest at state funeral for slain Japanese Prime Minister | Japan

A man sets himself on fire near the Japanese Prime Minister’s office, apparently in protest of next week state funeral to the former Prime Minister of the country, Shinzo Abe.

The man, whose name has not been released, was initially unconscious and burned all over his body after the accident in Tokyo on Wednesday morning, less than a week before the controversial farewell to Abe, who was… He wanted him dead in July.

Opposition to the state funeral on September 27 has grown since Abe’s death, prompting revelations of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s ties to the Unification Church, whose members are colloquially known as Moniz.

Media reports said the protester, who is in his 70s, regained consciousness and told police that he had poured oil on himself before being set on fire. A note in which he said he was “strongly opposed” to the funeral was found near the scene.

Kyodo News and other outlets said police were called to the scene at around 7 a.m. after reports of “a fire raging”. Media reports said a police officer who put out the fire was also injured.

Tetsuya Yamagami, who is suspected of shooting Abe dead on July 8 with a homemade pistol, reportedly told investigators that he targeted the politician because of his ties to the Unification Church.

Yamagami said his family was like that They fell into poverty 20 years ago when his mother, a member of the church, donated large sums of money to the organization.

Abe was not a member of the church, but he sent a Video congratulatory message To an affiliate event last year. A recent poll by the ruling party of 379 MPs showed that nearly half of them had some form of interaction with the Unification Church.

The church, founded in South Korea in 1954 by the self-proclaimed Christ Sun Myung Moonto establish a presence in Japan by Abe’s grandfather and post-war prime minister, Nobusuke Kishi, as an anti-communist and labor unionist. The organization, known for its mass weddings, has been accused of pressuring believers to make donations they cannot afford – allegations it has denied.

Revelations of ties between LDP lawmakers and the church have dominated the local news agenda for weeks and bolstered opposition to the use of taxpayer money to pay for Abe’s funeral.

The scandal is hers too Consists Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, who announced his support for a state funeral within days of Abe’s death. A Mainichi Shimbun poll over the weekend put Kishida’s approval rating at 29%, down six percentage points from late August.

The government said earlier this month that the service at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan Hall would cost At least 1.7 billion yen ($12 million), where most of the money goes to a huge security operation. A Kyodo News poll on Sunday showed 60.8% opposed the celebration, while 38.5% expressed support. More than 75% said the government spends “too much” on the funeral.

Foreign guests are expected to include US Vice President Kamala Harris, and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. In all, about 6000 people are expected to attend.

But many current and former leaders will not attend, including Barack Obama, who was with Abe in 2016 when he became The first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima.

The man who set himself on fire on Wednesday is not the first to use self-immolation in a protest related to Abe, a conservative whose legacy has inspired both salutes and tributes. fierce criticism.

In 2014, two men set themselves on fire in two separate incidents in protest of the planned introduction of Security laws Critics said it represented a reckless departure from Japan’s postwar pacifist policy. One of the men died.

Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, resigned in 2020 citing poor health, but remained influential until he was shot dead while giving a campaign speech in the western city of Nara.

with Reuters

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